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  Friday, March 28, 2003

Automobile Manualsaurus. Next time you're at a new car showroom, ask to see a car's documentation set. Enjoy the look of surprise and puzzlement on the face of the salesperson, then cast your eyes on what might be the last consumer product to come with a big, thick printed book. [Usable Help]

Last time I bought a new car (well, only time I bought a new car. . .), there was such a long wait between making the deal and actually finishing the paperwork that I sat down and read the entire owner's manual. Yep, cover to cover. Fascinating. And then there was a video (VHS) that came with the car, too. I've never watched it. So, what does that say about different learning styles and help systems?

11:46:42 AM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

If you weren't there, you missed a great meeting of Silicon Valley STC last night. Seems like everyone's interested in knowing where the profession of technical communication is going, and what we'll be doing in ten years. Beau Cain and Marie Highby reported the results of their research into trends and expectations, with a bit of crystal-ball-gazing.

Here's what I took away:

  • Skilled writers will still be needed (if not in demand) as the supply of people who actually know how to write and communicate dwindles.
  • New skills will be required: more graphics, training, managerial, and creative skills.
  • Many jobs will move offshore, but management and creative and architectural jobs will stay here in the U.S.
  • There will be opportunities for those who are willing to move elsewhere.
  • Adaptability and flexibility will be paramount.

While it's possible to be gloomy about the future, I choose to focus on expanding my skill set with contuing education and professional development, knowing that being adaptable and flexible will give me wider choices for future jobs. And if my current employer doesn't take advantage of those skills, my next one will.

If you're now intrigued, Beau and Marie will reprise their presentation, with updates, at the STC conference in Dallas in May.

8:52:24 AM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

"Paradise is exactly like where you are right now...only much, much better"  

Laurie Anderson. [Quotes of the Day]

And Hell is also right here. It's all in what you make of it.

8:38:39 AM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

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